DAY : 15

--------------------------------------------------------------------------MR VAN DER MERWE: Thank you, Mr Chairman. I intend to call the three clients that I represent at this stage. The first client to be called will then be Mr Johan Hendrik Tait. He prefers to give his evidence in Afrikaans, and is ready to proceed. Thank you, Mr Chairman. Page 47, Mr Chairman.

JOHAN HENDRIK TAIT: (sworn states)

EXAMINATION BY MR VAN DER MERWE: Thank you, Mr Chairperson.

Mr Tait, just your personal background for the assistance of the Committee. You are currently not in the South African Police anymore and because of medical reasons you left, due to the post-traumatic stress that you underwent.

MR TAIT: That is correct, yes.

MR VAN DER MERWE: You are currently using medication specifically for this condition and you daily have to take this medication.

MR TAIT: That is correct, yes.

MR VAN DER MERWE: Thank you very much. Let us continue. Your application starts on page 47 of the bundle, bundle 1 in this matter, is this correct?

MR TAIT: That is correct, yes.

MR VAN DER MERWE: Page 47, 48 up until page 50 at the top, you give information or the background of this application. Do you confirm that it is correct?

MR TAIT: That is true.

MR VAN DER MERWE: Then on page 50 you give your recollection of the incident and how it occurred, is that correct?


MR VAN DER MERWE: You confirm that you yourself cannot remember the date, but are willing to accept as the evidence was given, that this was on done on the 11th of December 1988.

MR TAIT: That is correct.

MR VAN DER MERWE: You also further confirm that you were not present at the scene where they executed the operation, but that you as you mentioned on page 51 in the second paragraph, that you were only involved to transport the members to and from the border post during the operation, is that correct?

MR TAIT: Correct, Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: Did you know why you were going there?

MR VAN DER MERWE: I'm sorry, Mr Chairperson, maybe I should just take him through the application.

CHAIRPERSON: You said that you were not present at the scene, you only dealt with the transport of you that you would like to tell the Committee concerning this person?

MR TAIT: I believe that I confused him with a previous Botswana operation and I would agree that he was not present.

MR VAN DER MERWE: Thank you. Your political objective that you wanted to achieve was then to take part in this operation, as you described on page 52, that you wanted to destroy the premises of where the MK cadres stayed, is that correct?


MR VAN DER MERWE: Who was in charge of the operation itself?

MR TAIT: It was W/O Ras.

MR VAN DER MERWE: And you'd also then confirm that Col de Kock was also present when this operation was executed.

MR TAIT: That is correct.

MR VAN DER MERWE: Do you also confirm the rest of your application up until page 54?

MR TAIT: That is correct, yes.

MR VAN DER MERWE: Is there anything else you'd like to add?

MR TAIT: No, Chairperson.

MR VAN DER MERWE: Thank you, Chairperson.



MR LAMEY: I've got no questions, thank you.


MR NEL: Thank you, Chairperson, I have no questions for Mr Tait.


MR CORNELIUS: Cornelius for the applicant Vermeulen, I've got no questions, thank you.


MR HUGO: Thank you, Mr Chairman, I've got no questions.


MR JANSEN: Thank you, Chair. Jansen on behalf of Ras, I've got no questions.


MR MARIBANA: Thank you, Chairperson, I've got no questions for the applicant.


MR PATEL: I don't have any questions, thank you.


ADV BOSMAN: I've no questions, thank you.

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: Mr Tait, is it not so that even though Mr Ras was in charge of the operation, you were involved in this operation at the instance of the instructions you received from Col de Kock?

MR TAIT: That is correct, yes.


CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, you are excused.


MR VAN DER MERWE: Chairperson, may I ask at this stage, Mr Tait's got personal problems, if he can be excused of further attendance.

CHAIRPERSON: As long as it is necessary he must be able to be contacted.

MR VAN DER MERWE: Yes, that is something in the family.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, I understand that. I do not believe that there would be something coming up.

MR VAN DER MERWE: Thank you, Chairperson. The next applicant, Chairperson, is Mr Wilhelm Riaan Bellingan. His application appears on page 146 of the bundle.



--------------------------------------------------------------------------CHAIRPERSON: Mr Bellingan, what language would you prefer to use?

MR BELLINGAN: Afrikaans, please.


CHAIRPERSON: Please be seated.

EXAMINATION BY MR VAN DER MERWE: Thank you, Chairperson.

Mr Bellingan, you prepared an application concerning this matter and it starts on page 146 and the introduction continues up to page 162.

MR BELLINGAN: Yes, I do confirm it.

MR VAN DER MERWE: Do you also confirm that it is the truth?


MR VAN DER MERWE: Concerning 146, it is also so in paragraph 7 that while you were the service of the South African Defence Force, you were a supporter of the National Party, is that correct?


MR VAN DER MERWE: Would you like the Committee to change it then in paragraph 7(a) and (b)?

MR BELLINGAN: Correct, Chairperson.

MR VAN DER MERWE: On page 163 the application continues. You were not quite sure of the specific date of the operation but you are willing to accept that the date of this action was on the 11th of December 1988, is that correct?

MR BELLINGAN: That is correct, yes.

MR VAN DER MERWE: Your participation or role in this matter does concur with the previous witness, you do confirm that you were not part of the operation itself, but that you were part of the observation team and later on with the transportation of the members who executed the operation. That is now from the border up until the premises where it occurred.

MR BELLINGAN: That is correct.

MR VAN DER MERWE: Do you also confirm the rest of your statement and application up until page 171?

MR BELLINGAN: That is correct, yes.

MR VAN DER MERWE: You realised that the instructions and commands that you received was to destroy this transit house as well as the death of those living there or using the house.

MR BELLINGAN: That is correct.

MR VAN DER MERWE: And you confirm that you did reconcile yourself with that fact and you did nothing to prevent - or you did this to prevent the members of the liberation movement to infiltrate the country.

MR BELLINGAN: That is correct.

MR VAN DER MERWE: Thank you, Chairperson, I've got no further questions.



MR LAMEY: No questions.


MR NEL: Thank you, Chairperson. Christo Nel, no questions.


MR CORNELIUS: Wim Cornelius, I've got no questions, Mr Chair.


CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR HUGO: Thank you, Mr Chairman. Hugo on record, I just have one question, or one aspect.

Mr Bellingan, you say on page 163 of your application that you received the instructions from Col de Kock and that he mentioned to you that Trevits identified the transit facility. Are you sure that he referred to Trevits, or did he just generally mention the information that was gathered?

MR BELLINGAN: Chairperson, it could have been that he just mentioned the information, but the reason why I used Trevits in my application is, after Martiens Ras started working for us, Col de Kock gave the instructions to train him in the Security Police and I also took him to the research desk to get information, to verify this information, and this was part of C-Section.

CHAIRPERSON: Is this now Ras?

MR BELLINGAN: Yes, Chairperson. So Trevits was also a leg of this research desk, so I believe that Lt Ras would then have gone to the research desk and Trevits to verify the information that we received, because he wouldn't have known of those detainees in Vereeniging. So that is maybe the confusion that occurred because of that. So I will agree that Mr de Kock may have not mentioned the word Trevits pertinently.

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: Are you saying that you must have been wrong when you said subsequent to information received from Mr de Kock, you the formed a view that the targets had been identified by Trevits?

MR BELLINGAN: Yes, I could have interpreted it in the wrong way. The conclusion that I made was that Martiens would have gone to the research department, Trevits, it wasn't that Col de Kock used the word Trevits.

MR HUGO: And is it correct - or let me put it like this, were you aware of the fact that Mr Ras was the person who gathered the information and planned the operation?

MR BELLINGAN: That is correct.

MNR HUGO: "En net om die rekord duidelik te kry, nie mnr de Kock of enige lede van Vlakplaas het sitting gehad op Trevits nie."

MR BELLINGAN: No, that's correct, Chairperson.

MR HUGO: Thank you, Mr Chairman.


MR JANSEN: Thank you, Chair. Jansen on behalf of Ras, no questions.


CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR MARIBANA: Thank you, Mr Chairman. J C Maribana on behalf of the victim.

Mr Bellingan, I've just got a few questions for you. For how long were you involved in the observation of the said house?

MR BELLINGAN: Chairperson, it could have been the 10 days which Mr Ras talked about, where we were brought it, myself and Mr Tait. We observed the house for a period the house for two to three days from a safe point. That was the period directly before the attack.

MR MARIBANA: And from these 10 days, if I may just ask you a ...(indistinct) question, what did you observe actually?

MR BELLINGAN: Chairperson, I do not have all the details, but I believe it would have been the movement of people and vehicles which stopped or went past that specific house, but the finer details I cannot remember.

MR MARIBANA: And during your observations, do you still remember maybe the person - I think yesterday your attorney might have shown you the structure, if I may just check for convenience of the process - did you observe the persons who were living in structure X, and then if so will you maybe indicate or if you can remember, tell this Honourable Committee. Even if you can't mention names, whether they were men or what. Will you be able to tell this Honourable Committee about the persons whom you observed, who were living in structure X?

MR BELLINGAN: Chairperson, I cannot say with certainty who walked where and when, the information that we gathered we would have given to Martiens Ras when we came back from the observation point and he would have taken it further. I cannot really say anything about the finer details. It was about male and female persons as well as the vehicles that were used in that area.

MR MARIBANA: And if one understands you correctly, you couldn't even be able to tell us as to who actually was using structure Y, is that so?

MR BELLINGAN: Chairperson, I cannot remember it today. I'm very honest, I do not want to tell stories.

CHAIRPERSON: I understand.

MR MARIBANA: Thank you, Mr Chairperson, I've got no further questions.


CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MS PATEL: Thank you, Honourable Chairperson.

Mr Bellingan, just one aspect really that I want clarity on. On page 163 of your application to us, you've stated that not only were weapons brought in from that particular transit house, but acts of murder and terror were also planned there, can you tell us what you based this on?

MR BELLINGAN: Chairperson, it would have been about the information that we received from Mr Ras, and it can be seen in this context. I also cannot remember the finer details around this point. It was a house that was used for the infiltration into South Africa and it was weapons that could have been used in South Africa.

MS PATEL: So that's just an assumption really, because Mr Ras also didn't testify that acts of terror and sabotage were in fact planned from that particular house. His testimony to us was that the house was used as an infiltration/ex-filtration route, but it didn't go further than that, so this is merely an assumption from your side, is that correct? I just want clarity on that.

MR BELLINGAN: That is the conclusion that I made as an operator.

MS PATEL: A conclusion based on?

MR BELLINGAN: On the information that Mr Ras received and gave to us.

MS PATEL: And you don't know what that specific information is.

MR BELLINGAN: I cannot say today it was point-for-point this and that but when I compiled my application, this is what I could remember.

MS PATEL: Can you tell us whether the reconnaissance that was done immediately prior to the operation, the 24-hour period that was spoken of, were you involved in that reconnaissance?

MR BELLINGAN: Yes, I was part of that 10 day period before. I cannot remember if I was there the day right before the operation or seven days before that, but I was there within that 10 day period. But there was a reconnaissance done.

MS PATEL: Alright. I know your memory seems to be rather vague, but perhaps you can assist, do you have any idea how many people were expected in the transit house the evening of the operation?

MR BELLINGAN: No, Chairperson, I was ...(intervention)

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: Ms Patel, may I just get clarity on that question.

How many persons were expected or had been seen being brought in in a Toyota vehicle?

MS PATEL: And therefore expected to be found ...(intervention)

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: To be found?

MS PATEL: Yes, expected to be found. Yes, that's what I meant.

MR BELLINGAN: Chairperson, I cannot remember the amount. I will also agree with what Mr Ras testified. I do not have all the details.

MS PATEL: Alright. Thank you, Honourable Chairperson.


MR VAN DER MERWE: I have no re-examination, thank you, Mr Chairman.


ADV BOSMAN: I have no questions, thank you, Chairperson.

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: I have no questions.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, you are excused.

MR BELLINGAN: Thank you, Sir.


MR VAN DER MERWE: Chairperson, then the following applicant is Mr Johan Albert Hoffman. His application appears on page 342 of the bundle.




CHAIRPERSON: What page number?

MR VAN DER MERWE: 342 to 348.

MR HOFFMAN: He will also prefer to testify in Afrikaans.

JOHAN ALBERT HOFFMAN: (sworn states)

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, you may be seated.

EXAMINATION BY MR VAN DER MERWE: Thank you, Chairperson.

Mr Hoffman, you have compiled your application an submitted it for amnesty with regard to this matter. It begins on page 342 and proceeds to page 348, is that correct?

MR HOFFMAN: That is correct.

MR VAN DER MERWE: You confirm the content of this application as true and correct.

MR HOFFMAN: Yes, that is correct.

MR VAN DER MERWE: On page 344 you deal with the specific incident. You say that the date of this incident is either 1988 or 1989, but you would be prepared to accept according to the evidence which has been delivered here, that the incident took place on 11th of December 1988.

MR HOFFMAN: Yes, that is correct.

MR VAN DER MERWE: And at the time of this incident you were a member of Vlakplaas, under the command of Eugene de Kock, is that correct?

MR HOFFMAN: Yes, that is correct.

MR VAN DER MERWE: The person who was operationally in command of this operation was Mr Ras, is that correct?

MR HOFFMAN: Yes, that is correct.

MR VAN DER MERWE: You yourself were involved in the surveillance of this facility from time to time, is that correct?


MR VAN DER MERWE: Could you then take us through your application very briefly and explain to the Committee what took place there.

MR HOFFMAN: Martiens and I worked together regularly in the Western Transvaal, with regard to this area. During that period, I would say the first time approximately five to six months before the attack, we began to work on this matter. It was somewhat difficult to identify the house in the beginning, although we had known about it for a while. However, Martiens had first-hand information and informed me as we worked on the project.

"Wat ek wel kan onthou is dat ons eendag een van ons jonger lede wat self daar geïnfiltreer het, het hy in die omgewing vir ons geneem en ons het toe daai huis gesien, maar ons was toe nog nie seker nie en later is daai huis wel toe geïdentifiseer as die huis waarna ons gesoek het op daai stadium."

While we were conducting our surveillance during the period of approximately three months before the attack, I would sit in our point of observation quite regularly and one day I noticed that three men along with the young man who is now referred to as the herds boy, were walking in the direction of the border, it was approximately at 4 o'clock or 5 o'clock in the afternoon.

CHAIRPERSON: What was the objective of the observation?

MR HOFFMAN: The objective of the observation was to determine whether or not this was indeed the house that we were searching for, the house about which we had information indicating that it was being applied to infiltrate persons from the RSA, or from Botswana to the RSA, trained ANC members.

CHAIRPERSON: What would you have done with that information?

MR HOFFMAN: Ultimately Chairperson, it would have led I believe, to the elimination and destruction ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: This attack?


CHAIRPERSON: And this was the plan before you began to conduct the observation, that if you were able to find and positively identify this house, that would be what would happen.

MR HOFFMAN: I cannot say that with absolute certainty, but I assume that because that would have been what we wanted to do in order to eliminate the facility and the persons working with the facility.

CHAIRPERSON: Have I understood that you and Ras spent quite a long period of time before the incident initiating the operation?

MR HOFFMAN: Yes, that is correct, we conducted observation there for quite a long period of time in order to determine exactly what was going on there and in order to ensure that that was indeed the house that we were looking for.

Later I was satisfied within myself that this was indeed the right place, due to the activities and the behaviour of the people that we noticed there. One of the major reasons why I thought so was because whenever there were men in the right-hand brick building, they would never emerge from the room. Under extreme circumstances they would perhaps stand in the threshold of the room or they would go outside to urinate, but by and large they were very well disciplined and they never left the room.

MR VAN DER MERWE: Mr Hoffman, just in order to inform the Committee, at the stage when this operation was executed, what was your rank?

MR HOFFMAN: I was a Sergeant.

MR VAN DER MERWE: And Mr Ras was a Lieutenant, if I'm correct.

MR HOFFMAN: No, I think he was a Warrant Officer at that stage.

MR VAN DER MERWE: Very well. You were telling us about the men that you saw there.

MR HOFFMAN: We noticed men who were walking in the direction of the RSA border, the young herds boy as he was referred to, was also walking with them and we saw that they were going to cross the border where there was a gate. Martiens and I and the members who were with us at that stage couldn't leave our point of observation because then we would have given away our position of observation, and at that stage some of our other members were in close proximity and we contacted them and informed them that they be on the lookout for people who would be approaching on the highway, but they never arrived. I assumed that those persons had then successfully infiltrated the RSA.

During this period that I was occupied there, I heard that Martiens said that an attack was being planned, an attack on the facility, but that the Defence Force would conduct this attack and that they would merely make use of explosives. That is what happened ultimately.

And one evening we walked up to the Botswana border, up to the fence, I walked with them, and Martiens and some of the Defence Force members entered Botswana. However it was an overcast dark evening. I remained behind because the Defence Force didn't want me to accompany the group. I remained there and they returned later because they couldn't find the facility that night.

Later a similar operation was planned, during which explosives would also be used. That evening we moved in. During the preparation of the explosives, a person came out of room Y and walked into Martiens, he jumped back into the room and things happened rather quickly, as has already been testified. The explosives were set up and detonated and in the meantime before that detonation, they opened fire on us from within building Y. Then things happened very quickly.

After the explosion I told, or saw Martiens at a certain stage at building Y. I heard another explosion and saw that Martiens was knocked off his feet. I assumed that this was the result of a handgrenade. I jumped up and ran closer. At that stage Willie Nortje and I lay next to each other, I jumped up and ran closer to go and help Martiens because he was near room Y. I went to room X, I entered the room and saw a person there, I fired three shots on the person and checked the rest of the room which was dark. I didn't find anybody else. I then withdrew.

We took photos quickly. I cannot recall who took the photographs. And the photograph which was taken of the person in facility Y, was later identified by one of the askaris as a trained MK man.

MR VAN DER MERWE: Perhaps you could tell us, did you take any weaponry with to the scene?

MR HOFFMAN: That's correct. I had an RPG7 launcher which I left there after the attack.

MR VAN DER MERWE: Did you do this upon your own initiative or was there someone who told you to?

MR HOFFMAN: No, I did this under command. As far as I can recall, Mr de Kock gave me the order but as he has testified he doesn't know anything about that, and this did take place quite a long time ago. I wouldn't be able to say with one hundred percent certainty that it was indeed him, but I'm assuming that it was him.

I carried the pipe in, it was only the pipe, I didn't carry any bombs in. I left the pipe there after the time. I was not happy with this because I had spent time working as a detective previously and I was quite familiar with detective work and I wasn't happy about the fact that my fingerprints were on the pipe.

MR VAN DER MERWE: Now this person is room X, this person that you shot, when you shot the person at that stage, could you tell the Committee, was the person still alive or had he already been shot? What did you see, what do you know?

MR HOFFMAN: Chairperson, things happened rather quickly at that stage because the plan went awry in terms of what it was supposed to be originally. The original plan was that explosives would be placed against the wall of room Y, we would detonate that charge and then withdraw and during the process of placing the explosives the man came out of the room, which changed everything, it led to a shooting during which fire was opened on us from within room Y, at first, and then according the acceptable way of doing things when things go wrong and fire is opened on one, one would go in oneself and attempt to eliminate the enemy.

MR VAN DER MERWE: When you walked into the room, into room X, what did you see and how quickly did everything happen?

MR HOFFMAN: Chairperson, as I've said, at that stage it was chaotic, everything happened very quickly. I do know that I fired two or three shots at that person.

MR VAN DER MERWE: May I ask you like this, in what position was the person when you shot him?

MR HOFFMAN: He was sitting, or sitting on his haunches a short distance away from the door.

MR VAN DER MERWE: Were you certain that he was still alive at that stage, or were you not certain of that?

MR HOFFMAN: I assume that he was still alive at that stage, but if there is any other evidence which would not confirm this, I would not be able to dispute it. As I've said, at that stage everything happened very quickly.

MR VAN DER MERWE: You have heard the evidence of Mr Ras ...(intervention)

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: May I just interpose, Mr van der Merwe.

How old was this person you shot at?

MR HOFFMAN: Chairperson, this was a young person in the vicinity of 15 to 16 years of age. Subsequent to the incident, when we came out, I noticed it and I was under the impression that it was the same person who was regularly present at the house.

Perhaps I could elaborate on that. In the period that I conducted observation I noticed that in building X there was a reasonably large black woman as well as an elderly black gentleman along with this herds boy that we have just referred to.

From time to time, this boy wouldn't be there, he wasn't there all the time and then in building Y from time to time, there were also other persons who moved around very little.

MR VAN DER MERWE: Thank you, Chairperson.

Mr Hoffman, just to give the Committee an impression of how these things took place, can you explain what happened when you approached the door? What the situation was, what the light was like, how quickly everything happened and what you saw, just so that they can get a better impression of the situation.

MR HOFFMAN: Chairperson, at that stage - as I've said originally I was 25 metres away from the building and at the stage when Martiens was nocked off his feet by the handgrenade, I decided to approach him because he was alone at that stage and I wanted to help him, at that stage a reasonable number of shots had already been fired from within room Y and the explosion took place, so everything was quite confusing at that stage.

I went from Martiens to building X, I penetrated the room very quickly, saw the person and fired two or three shots on the person. There wasn't time to think or identify or anything like that because at that stage it was the easiest thing in the world if this was a trained person who was lying in wait with a firearm for you, he would be in a much better position to shoot you as you entered the door.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr Hoffman tell me, were you also one of the leaders of this proposed attack?

MR HOFFMAN: Was I also one of the leaders of the proposed attack?


MR HOFFMAN: No, Chairperson, I merely assisted because Martiens and I worked in the Western Transvaal environment for a reasonable length of time. Although I didn't work with him there permanently I worked there quite regularly with him and I was narrowly involved in the observation and the gathering of intelligence for this project. But no, I wasn't one of the leaders.

CHAIRPERSON: When you went in there was there a specific plan such as a Plan A? Did you know why Plan A or the first plan that you were going to use was ...

MR HOFFMAN: Chairperson, at that stage it was Defence Force territory, Botswana, and they wanted for us to destroy the facility only with explosives, so that it would appear as if the occupants of the house were busy manufacturing a bomb and had accidentally detonated their own bomb. The original plan was to go in, to manufacture the explosives device, to detonate it, then to withdraw. That is how I understood it.

CHAIRPERSON: Who informed you of this plan?

MR HOFFMAN: I believe that it was Martiens Ras.

CHAIRPERSON: Now plan B, at which stage did you realise that a plan B also existed?

MR HOFFMAN: Chairperson, at the moment when the operation was planned, in the event of things going awry, one would go over to plan B.

CHAIRPERSON: You've already explained that this was the custom, now with regard to this attack, at which stage did you realise that there was indeed a plan B?

MR HOFFMAN: At the moment when the man emerged from room Y and ran into Martiens Ras, that was when I saw that there was trouble.

CHAIRPERSON: That is when you realised that there was a plan B?

MR HOFFMAN: Well Chairperson, I assumed there was trouble ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: No, listen to the question, and I'm not trying to trick you, I just want to know at which stage of the entire planning phase did you realise the possibility of the existence of a plan B?

MR HOFFMAN: At which stage of the planning?

CHAIRPERSON: Of the entire affair, the planning, the execution, whatever. At which stage did you realise for the first time that there was indeed a plan B?

MR HOFFMAN: I don't know, Chairperson, it is difficult to answer but as I've stated, at the moment when the man emerged from the room, I knew that we would not be able to continue with our initial plan and then we went over into what took place. Which I have explained to you now.

CHAIRPERSON: Do I understand you correct, before the man emerged from the room you didn't know specifically of a plan B, but your experience would have told you that there must have been plan B.

MR HOFFMAN: I believe that it was discussed, I cannot confirm it, I cannot recall it clearly today.

CHAIRPERSON: That is why I'm asking at which did you become aware of a plan B?

MR HOFFMAN: Chairperson yes, as I've said, I cannot confirm it today but I do believe that before we went in, while we were busy with the planning, the final planning before we went in, we would have discussed.

CHAIRPERSON: Where would this have taken place?

MR HOFFMAN: On our side of the border before we went in.

CHAIRPERSON: Would Mr de Kock have been present?

MR HOFFMAN: Yes, because he went with us.

CHAIRPERSON: You see I expected that that would have been the position because it is reasonable to think that if there was a plan B, the group would at least have discussed it and the leader would have given the indication that if plan A doesn't work, we'll go over to plan B. That is how I think things operated, but I must concede that the Security Police has surprised me on numerous occasions. So I'm not really sure.

MR HOFFMAN: I believe that it was discussed as such before we entered Botswana.

CHAIRPERSON: Now Mr Ras testified here yesterday and I attempted to determine the same thing from him and he says that he decided when you were already at the house and that man came out, he decided "we need another plan", and then I asked him whether or not he discussed this with Mr de Kock because on paper de Kock was the leader of the team, and he said that he hadn't any time to do it because he was too far, he was still at the fence. If I recall correctly. Now if this is the case, then there wasn't any time or opportunity to discuss plan B.

MR HOFFMAN: Chairperson yes, plan B would never be discussed when things went wrong.

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, I would have expected for plan B to have been discussed quite some time before. That is what he testified. Do you have anything to say about that? Because it goes deeper, and this isn't to implicate you, but it would appear to me as if you are in a position to cast some light on the issue. Part of plan B, according to Mr Ras was to toss out the story of plan A, then it was too late and there was no other choice but to make it appear as if the Defence Force was involved in this, regardless of the two Defence Force members who were in detention in Botswana, and that involved going into the other house and killing the occupants of that house as well and that is why the young was killed as well. Now what concerns me is this proposed B plan, when was it discussed and when did it come into operation and who decided to go to plan B and what did it involve?

MR HOFFMAN: Chairperson, perhaps I could attempt to explain this. Before we went over the fence, plan A had been calculated and everybody understood how it would work and everybody understood their role and capacity in the plan, whether it be part of the initial team or the backup team in the event of us running into the Botswana border patrol or any other persons who could threaten the situation. If there were no other problems we go in, place the explosives and destroy the place. If that didn't happen we would go over to plan B. The details of which I cannot recall right away.

CHAIRPERSON: But the point is, did you know what the details of plan B were, because Ras states that some of the detail of plan B would be to go to the other houses and kill people living there as well, in order to make it appear as if it was the South African Defence Force who was responsible.

MR HOFFMAN: Chairperson, I cannot recall it in such detail.

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: Before you proceed, I think the Chair must have made a mistake with his understanding of Ras' plan B, it wasn't to effect that plan if you are going to structure X in order to shoot at persons. That's not my recollection of Ras' explanation of what plan B was.

CHAIRPERSON: Whatever the case may be, when we discuss it we can rectify it. What I want to know is about this plan B.

MR HOFFMAN: Chairperson, as I've stated, I cannot say with certainty today that that was indeed plan B. What I can say is that if we experienced any trouble, for example if they had noticed us from within the facility and opened fire on us we would immediately go over into an attack and the entire set-up would then change. It may appear to be strange, but this whole set-up was in a reasonably small area, all the structures were situated very close to one another, structure X and structure Y, and then the thatch roof structure.

The people who were there and the place itself would then have been destroyed, so that we could be certain that if it was used as an MK thoroughfare camp as part of infiltration route from Botswana to the RSA, it would be destroyed.

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: I'm now confused, Mr Hoffman, with your evidence. I thought I understood your evidence initially to say that when you went into this operation you only had one plan and one plan only.

MR HOFFMAN: That is correct, Madam Chair.

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: Now you are now suggesting that you had more than one plan, you had the main plan as well as an alternative plan in the event of the main plan not being able of execution. And this when I'm trying to understand what you exactly want to say to us. Did you have the main plan, which was the only plan that was given to you by Mr de Kock as well as Mr Ras, who was the operational commander, or were you also advised of an alternative plan which you could implement in the event of the main plan not being capable of implementation? It is important for me to understand you on this because yesterday we were having the same problem on this issue with regard to the evidence of Mr de Kock and the evidence of Mr Ras.

MR HOFFMAN: Chairperson, I will attempt to clarify matters for you. We had one plan, as I stated originally, and that was to destroy the facility by means of explosives ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: The two-roomed structure?

MR HOFFMAN: Yes, the brick building which was used by the male persons, building Y.


MR HOFFMAN: Yes, just that. But with any operation of such a nature one had to have a contingency plan in the event of trouble, which is proven by this case, there was trouble, and one had to have an alternative plan indicating what to do if something happened like that which happened in this case. Or if for example, one encountered the Botswana Army, one had to think of these things, so that if things went awry, they would not be able to shoot you dead or take you captive.

If we were to encounter the Botswana Army, what were we going to do? Shoot them, run away, meet up at the border again. Perhaps I could I explain it as follows. There was one plan, but there were discussions regarding what would take place if we picked up any trouble as a result of not being able to continue with the original plan. Chairperson, does that clarify matters for you?

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, I would expect that this would have been the case.

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: And if your memory serves you well, can you recall if the alternative plan was discussed by Mr Ras, or was it something that was discussed by Mr de Kock and conveyed to you as operatives?

MR HOFFMAN: Chairperson, I cannot say that it was so, but I do assume that Martiens Ras discussed it with us, what would have happened if there was a variation in the plan or where we had to flee the scene. As far as I can remember, Martiens discussed this with us. Mr Eugene de Kock was present at that stage, but as far as I can remember, Martiens led to the operation and he was then in charge thereof, although Mr de Kock was according to the rules, the senior person in the operation.

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: The reason why I'm asking this question is because Mr Ras' testimony was that there was no alternative plan which was discussed, it was only one plan the whole team went with, with a view of executing. That he and he alone had to amend that plan and put it into effect at the scene of the incident once things started going wrong, but that there was no prior discussion of an alternative plan having to be used in the event of the initial plan meeting some difficulties.

MR HOFFMAN: Chairperson, I cannot believe that something like this would not have been discussed beforehand because as I said there was one plan and the plan was to stick to it, but there were also alternative discussions in case the first plan went awry. This was done in order to protect ourselves, to come out of this alive. In case we met up with the Botswana Police or if there were guards at the transit house and they started firing at us first, there had to be alternative plans. I would not say that there were plans as such, but there were discussions and it was part of the planning to be successful and to act successfully to come out of it alive.

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: Thank you, Mr van der Merwe.

MR VAN DER MERWE: Thank you, Mr Chairman.

Maybe we should just clarify one aspect. Everybody talks about a plan B ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: Not everybody.

MR VAN DER MERWE: There's talk about a plan B.

CHAIRPERSON: It was Mr Ras who talked about it.

MR VAN DER MERWE: This matter concerning plan B, it is actually something that is done by somebody who is in charge of the operation at the scene, am I correct?

MR HOFFMAN: Yes, you are. I can maybe just add, maybe because they talked - the reason why they talked of a plan B, maybe it wasn't a plan B, C or D, but in daily talk or discussions of people who do the work that we did you automatically talk of a plan B, because if the initial plan doesn't work out you can easily say well, we'll fall back on plan B.

Maybe I can just try to explain it in a different set-up. In a hostage situation, in order to free the hostages you do plan it up to the smallest detail, but everybody moves in and in case any shots were fired in the building or room where the hostages were kept, then apart from all the plans that the operatives then storm that building and immediately go in through the doors and the others shoot through the windows. So maybe we can apply it here. There was a plan, it didn't work out and we then went back to another plan automatically.

MR VAN DER MERWE: So what you actually mean then is that every operator who was part of the operation must take initiative at a certain stage even though it was something that was discussed beforehand, but it is connected to what happened in that specific situation. It is not something that you discussed beforehand, that if it doesn't work, we're going to do this and this and this, because then it just becomes another plan. But this plan B that Mr Ras talked about is not a very fixed rigid plan that means that we'd go over to attack and everybody does what he's supposed to do.

MR HOFFMAN: That is correct, Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: It is very important, that answer that you are going to give me now.

MR HOFFMAN: That is correct, Chairperson. As I've already explained, I see it as an action on a reaction - or a reaction on an action.

CHAIRPERSON: Is there a difference between the reason why you wanted to go there in the first place, and if we talk about plan A and distinguish that from plan B, the reason why you initiated the other action, and that was to leave the premises safely. Am I correct if I say that?

MR HOFFMAN: I do not quite understand your question, Chairperson.

CHAIRPERSON: According to the plan you had to go there and destroy or bomb building Y and maybe kill those in the building, that was the purpose of the whole operation.

MR HOFFMAN: That is correct, yes.

CHAIRPERSON: If something went wrong and they started shooting at you, as it was in this case, do I understand you correctly then, then this other plan - let's not give it a name, was then initiated by every single operative at the scene basically to ensure that you could leave that area without being shot at and get away safely and to be safely back in South Africa?

MR HOFFMAN: Yes, Chairperson, you can see it like that, but I think when you have a hundred incidents or cases, you will have a hundred different actions, because not one single person thinks and does the same thing if things go wrong, some would run away without shooting, some would go in and eliminate the enemy. It is to say that your main purpose, if your plan goes wrong, that is to come back safely or get out of it safely. It is to an extent true, but it will not always work the same way.

CHAIRPERSON: Continue please.

MR VAN DER MERWE: Thank you, Chairperson.

Just concerning that point, the people who were present at the premises, what was your attitude towards them, or how did you perceive them?

MR HOFFMAN: As far as I can remember, the evening when we launched the operation there would have been three people in building Y and then the family in building X, the family house as it's indicated on the sketch.

MR VAN DER MERWE: I'm not talking about the trained military people in the building, let us talk about the people in building X, how did you perceive them, who were they?

MR HOFFMAN: I personally, and that is my personal opinion, I saw them as those who assisted the ANC. The black woman she made food in the rondawel and then it was taken by the young man to the building and then given to those who lived in or stayed in that building. As I mentioned before, at approximately 4/5 o'clock in the afternoon they went to the Republic's side or came to the Republic's side, and I still believe to this day that they were trained MK members, they were successful in their infiltration into the Republic, and it was the herd boy that assisted them. So in my eyes they were the people who assisted the ANC and in my eyes I also thought of them as the same or on the same level as those who were part of the terrorist movement.

MR VAN DER MERWE: Furthermore, were you aware if there were would-be people who had weapons in the building? Did you expect it when you stormed the building?

MR HOFFMAN: Chairperson, I cannot remember this in detail, if it was said to us pertinently if they would be armed but I do believe that there were AK47s and handgrenades and it was said to us.

MR VAN DER MERWE: So the stage when you stormed towards building X, did you expect that there would be weapons and people using these weapons against you?

MR HOFFMAN: Yes, that is what I expected.

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: Where, in structure X? You expected weapons ...(intervention)

MR HOFFMAN: Chairperson, I do not distinguish between building X and Y, because they were trained people who used that facility on a regular basis you could expect anything. There could have been guards with AK47s, people could have slept in building X with weapons. I expected anything there. I wouldn't say that I can go in and say building X is safe and the rondawel is unsafe and building Y is unsafe. I saw that whole complex as an ANC transit house and I believe Mr Ras also saw it in this light and this is what led to his actions and in which I assisted him.

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: Let me tell you what my difficulty is with what you've just stated now. The people in structure X were not the object of attack in terms of the planning of this operation, if things had gone well.

MR HOFFMAN: That is correct, Chairperson, in the original plan they had a 90% chance to get away without any injuries or without anything happening to them.

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: And that was so notwithstanding a very feasible possibility that there might have been other people occupying structure X and notwithstanding the fact that they were harbouring people that were you enemies, you did not plan the operation to include them in the attack.

MR HOFFMAN: That is correct, Chairperson. As I said, the plan was - I don't want to talk about A or B now, but the plan was to destroy building Y and then to withdraw. So if people slept or stayed in building X, if they were trained or not, they would have survived it. That was the original plan.

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: Yes, and I concede it was reasonable of you to infer that if people were allowed to sleep in structure Y, they might have been allowed to sleep in structure X as well because the people who are allowing the people to use the premises in structure X, were collaborating with the ANC members who had to infiltrate or ex-filtrate Botswana into South Africa. My problem is I cannot understand why if these people, notwithstanding the knowledge which was in your possession about their participation within the broad MK structure by assisting the people to infiltrate into the RSA, why your planning did not include an attack on them.

MR HOFFMAN: Is this now on structure X?

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: On structure X.

MR HOFFMAN: As I've said the initial planning was done, and that included the destruction of building Y only, it would have been done by a single detonating device and it would have seemed as if they were preparing to make a bomb and then they made a mistake. If we placed two or three more bombs they could immediately then point a finger at the Defence Force, whether it was the Defence Force or the police then. Maybe that would answer your question.

CHAIRPERSON: Why did you go into building X to kill people?

MR HOFFMAN: Chairperson, that was done after the initial plan went wrong. As I've already said ...(intervention)


MR HOFFMAN: Over a long period of time we observed this area and I was satisfied that all the people on the premises were involved, that they knew what they were doing. They provided them with food, a place to sleep, for me they were one and the same, if they were trained or not, that they were those who assisted the enemy of the government of the day.

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: But that's my problem Mr Hoffman, you see in terms of the main planning, the people who planned this operation, Mr Ras and Mr de Kock were privy to the information that you had, that these people must have been collaborating with the MK members, but not withstanding that information they decided not to make them an object of attack, why did you then believe you had authority to kill them outside the broad planning that had taken place prior to the execution of the operation?

MR HOFFMAN: Chairperson, all that I can on this is that the plan went wrong, that we acted alternatively and if we would have ran away, if we ran away then no questions would have been asked, but now we didn't and a person, unfortunately a young person was shot and killed in building X.

During such an action, where you original plan goes wrong and we only targeted building Y and killed the people in Y and ignored X and did not infiltrate there and safeguard it, very easily somebody with weapons could have killed some of our own members. I do not know if that answers your question.

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: This might help you because I know when one poses something from this side of the table it's usually interpreted as something to trap an applicant or a witness, so I'm just trying to warn you in advance that this is not intended to trap you, it's intended to assist you. The question I'm going to pose to you. Did you shoot the man in structure X after Mr Ras had entered structure X?

MR HOFFMAN: That's correct, Chairperson, just after the explosion Mr Ras came through the rondawel and the thatch roof and entered building X and there shot a person. I did not know it at that stage. The first that I saw was the stage when Mr Ras came round the front of building Y and lost his balance. I then approached him and at that stage I did not know that he already penetrated building X and fired shots in the building and that is why I infiltrated building X myself and then - because I was under the impression that there were still people in there.

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: In structure X?

MR HOFFMAN: That's correct.

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: So you did not see Mr Ras heading towards structure X prior to you shooting the man in structure X?

MR HOFFMAN: That is correct, Chairperson. At that stage I was with Willie Nortje, lying in front of building Y, as indicated on the plan, in the direction of the South African border. When the explosion happened he moved from position F, ran through the buildings between X and the thatch roof rondawel towards building X, and I did not know this. This were very confused, there was dust and shooting and AK47s and the first that I could, or mentioned Martiens was when he lost his balance after the shooting and I jumped up, ran to building X, penetrated it and then fired three shots at a person.

ADV BOSMAN: Mr Hoffman, can I just ask you the following. When you go and execute such an operation, do you generally expect that you will get involved in a contact situation?

MR HOFFMAN: Yes, I believe so. It is generally accepted. If you go to a house, whether it was a residing - or where there were criminals or terrorists and they had weapons and you have to arrest them, you do expect that they will shoot at you and that it can result in a fight situation.

ADV BOSMAN: This is now what I'm aiming at. If you are in that situation, where there's shooting etcetera, what is the general policy or guidelines or rules that count? Because you cannot now discuss this with everybody around you.

MR HOFFMAN: That is correct, Chairperson, you cannot do it. And as I've already said, if you have a thousand incidents, you will have a thousand different ways in which it was dealt with. You have training, to give an example, I think at that stage - I'm talking about the Defence Force members now, and they said they have trouble with the targets that they are attacking and their first modus operandi was that they run away to get everybody in a safe place, and I think in this instance something that was different was that because we did not expect any trouble I personally thought that we would go in, plant the bomb, destroy the building and without firing one shot we would withdraw. This did not happen. I think that the reason why after they started firing at us, the first thing that came up with Martiens Ras was that we have to eliminate and destroy the place and that is why it happened like that. His first thought was not self-preservation, but at that stage to destroy that facility and to kill as many of the people in the area as possible.

ADV BOSMAN: You do not really answer my question. You couldn't have known what Mr Ras thought in all that confusion.

MR HOFFMAN: Yes, but I saw what he was busy doing and originally I wouldn't have been part of the operation, but I saw that he was starting to fight and that he was alone, that is why I approached to help him.

ADV BOSMAN: Did this convey something to you, the fact that he was now shooting? In the general context of a situation like this, a conflict situation, did this give you a message?

MR HOFFMAN: Yes, I saw that he was fighting, he was shooting and that's why I went towards him to assist him.

ADV BOSMAN: Very well, let us take it step-by-step. You got the message that you are now in a conflict situation.

MR HOFFMAN: That is correct.

ADV BOSMAN: And now your evidence is that you went to go and assist him.

MR HOFFMAN: That is correct, yes. In a conflict situation like this it doesn't help - and he was a colleague who worked in that area with me and there were close ties with him, or I had close ties with him, I'm not just going to leave him there while he's fighting.

ADV BOSMAN: Mr Hoffman, don't continue with - I'm trying to help you to explain the process or what went through your mind at that stage. When you went into structure X, did you then perceive it as a conflict situation that you have to act according to what you thought was best, or that you have to help Mr Ras?

MR HOFFMAN: Yes, I understand now what your question is. To help Mr Ras. The first thought that came up was that we are in a conflict situation now, we have to safeguard the whole place as soon as possible. Because Mr Ras was at that stage busy to fight, or there was fighting situation at this building Y, I thought that I should go to building X to see if I can safeguard that, in order to execute this operation in a successful manner.

ADV BOSMAN: If I can then summarise it. You saw yourself within this conflict situation and you took initiative to according to your insights, act.

MR HOFFMAN: That is correct, yes.

ADV BOSMAN: Thank you.

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: If I may just make a follow-up, Mr Hoffman. Isn't it true and isn't it a fact that if an operative has been given instructions and something goes wrong like you had to execute this operation and something that you have not foreseen then occurs, and in this case the person who came out of structure Y and what followed thereafter, was something that was never taken care of, you thought the explosives would be placed around the walls of structure Y and they would be detonated and that would be the end of the story, you would have carried your mission. But isn't it true that in the event of something going wrong, you as an operative must use your own initiative which is dictated upon the dangers posed to you as an operative by the circumstances of the situation? You don't need to have had occasion to discuss plan B or plan C.

MR HOFFMAN: That is correct, Chairperson.

MR VAN DER MERWE: Thank you, Mr Chairman.

Mr Hoffman, then in short the set-up at that stage was then the operation that was about the destruction of the facility, to go ahead with this and complete it successfully.

MR HOFFMAN: That is correct.

MR VAN DER MERWE: You then confirm that your action during this operation you were a footsoldier at that stage, you had not made a decision about attacking the facility, you only received instructions.

MR HOFFMAN: That is correct.

MR VAN DER MERWE: Thank you, Chairperson, I've got no further questions.


CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR LAMEY: Thank you, Chairperson.

Mr Hoffman, just one aspect. The position where you were with Mr Nortje, can you recall that there was a tree in that vicinity?

MR HOFFMAN: Chairperson no, I did not notice anything like that because at that stage I was still in the section where the explosives were placed.

CHAIRPERSON: But Mr Hoffman you were there for approximately three weeks, checking the entire terrain, you would certainly be able to respond as to the presence of a tree or not.

MR HOFFMAN: There wasn't a tree where Willie and I were, but there was a tree on the other side, from the side that we approached.

MR LAMEY: Did you take up position at position F at first?


MR LAMEY: With who?

MR HOFFMAN: Martiens and Snor, almost all the persons were on that side. At a certain point I moved around.

MR LAMEY: You say that almost everybody was at F, would that include Mr Nortje and Mr de Kock and everybody else?

MR HOFFMAN: We moved together as a team when we approached from that direction. I cannot recall the precise detail today.

MR LAMEY: Yes, that is what I'm trying to determine, the finer details, because at a certain stage you must have moved from F more to the bottom section if we look at sketch plan A. The bottom section of that sketch plan. Let us say the bottom section in a southerly direction.

MR HOFFMAN: Yes, in the direction of the border, the front of the house.

MR LAMEY: The front of the house.


MR LAMEY: So somewhere at a certain point you must have moved in that direction.

MR HOFFMAN: That is correct, that is where we found Willie and I then lay down there next to him until we saw how Mr Ras was blown off his feet.

MR LAMEY: I must just say that Mr Nortje will not dispute what you have said, it's just that he cannot recall that you were there with him at a certain stage. What he can recall is that the position that he took up was behind a tree, which he can recall quite clearly.

MR HOFFMAN: I would not dispute it, it would depend upon which part he is referring to.

MR LAMEY: More south to the front of Y, in other words in the direction of the border. His judgement of the distance would have been about 50 steps or paces from Y, in other words from the front of Y.

MR HOFFMAN: I cannot recall, but it is possible that there may have been a tree there because that section was reasonably open and it wasn't necessary for me to run around before deciding to go to the facility. There were trees there. It was a rural area, so it is possible.

MR LAMEY: Very well. At any stage after the completion of the incident, did you enter Y in order to make any investigations and so forth?

MR HOFFMAN: I wouldn't say I was in Y. From X I moved to Y, I peeped into the first room that was still standing, that was Y, I saw that there was a person there as well as an AK and handgrenades and then from there onwards I moved to the next room which was very much demolished and I imagine that I saw the back of the heard of a person underneath the rubble.

MR LAMEY: So there you also saw at least one person, according to your recollection, someone on the right-hand side of Y.

MR HOFFMAN: Yes, the side that was demolished, that is correct.

MR LAMEY: So in total your inference is that at least three persons in total could have been killed.

MR HOFFMAN: That was my summary, yes.

MR LAMEY: Very well. Thank you, Chairperson, I have nothing further.


MR NEL: Mr Chairman, Christo Nel on behalf of Mr Hanton, I've got no questions for Mr Hoffman.


MR CORNELIUS: Cornelius, Mr Chairman, on behalf of Vermeulen, I've got no questions.


CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR HUGO: Thank you, Mr Chairman. Hugo on behalf of Mr de Kock and Radebe, I do have a couple of questions.

Mr Hoffman, you mentioned from your side you did not expect trouble in this operation, you actually foresaw that it would be very easy, that you would place the device, it would explode and you would withdraw afterwards.

MR HOFFMAN: That is correct, yes.

MR HUGO: And if you now think of the possibilities it does make sense, and I would like to put it to you in the sense that you had observed the house for months, you had the detailed planning thereof and you can accept that you did not really expect any trouble.

MR HOFFMAN: That is correct, yes.

MR HUGO: You now heard that there was confusion about plan A and B, according to questions asked by the Committee, but nothing was discussed because nobody really expected that there would be trouble, seeing that they thought it would be an easy operation.

MR HOFFMAN: I will not say that there was a definite planning for a plan B, but that we did discuss if something went wrong, we definitely did that. But I cannot say that we did have a well thought through plan as such.

MR HUGO: One aspect that is very clear is the possibility that you could have been confronted by the Botswana Defence Force. Can you remember that?

MR HOFFMAN: That is correct, Chairperson, although it was a very slim possibility.

MR HUGO: But it was indeed an aspect that was discussed and that you considered and then you also planned that if something like this happened you would do the following. Can you remember that?

MR HOFFMAN: Yes, I believe it was discussed.

MR HUGO: Well let me tell you Mr de Kock testified that for this specific possibility you took with a landmine in order to protect yourselves if this would happen. Can you remember that?

MR HOFFMAN: Yes, I can remember now.

MR HUGO: That you can remember very well, but is it then not that the possibility that people in structure X's participation was never discussed because then you would remember that very well as well?

MR HOFFMAN: I would just like to rectify something here. I said now that I remember that Mr de Kock testified it, I'm not saying that it was so during that time, but I can remember that Mr de Kock testified about it. I cannot deny that we did plan something like that. If he says it, it does sound to me, or it seems to me that I cannot deny it. It seems like a good plan and a plan that would have been thought out by Mr de Kock because he thinks of everything in such an event.

MR HUGO: It seems to me, and we are also going to argue this later on, that we never discussed this plan by - or Mr de Kock never discussed the plan. Is it then also not correct that you were now suddenly confronted with an emergency situation and that you then as an operative at the ground had to take decisions on the spur of the moment in this emergency situation?

MR HOFFMAN: That is correct, Chairperson.

MR HUGO: Very well. Can I put a hypothesis to you, you as an operative is now confronted with this emergency situation and then you decide for whatever reason that you are going to penetrate structure X and there's a baby girl and you shoot this persons, you would under no circumstances then ascribe to the instructions that you received from either Mr Ras or Mr de Kock?

MR HOFFMAN: It is true, yes.

MR HUGO: And then with regard to this specific action you would take responsibility.

MR HOFFMAN: Yes, that is correct.

MR HUGO: Just with regard to the RPG7, you say that you heard what Mr de Kock testified about that and that you are not certain but you recall that he may have given you an order, but you wouldn't want to rely upon that.

MR HOFFMAN: Yes, that is how I recall it, that the order came from him, but if he denies it I would not be able to dispute this with him 12 years after the fact and say that it was him. I simply thought that it must have come from him. If he denies it I will not be in a position to dispute it. What I can say is that I did not take it with me upon my own initiative and that I was reasonably unfortunate because I had to leave it behind with my fingerprints on it.

MR HUGO: May I just ask you about another aspect pertaining to the period of time during which you were conducting the observation, and I would like to limit myself more to the 10 days preceding the operation. Did you consistently report to Mr Ras?

MR HOFFMAN: Yes, that is correct.

MR HUGO: I've got no further questions, thank you, Mr Chairman.


MR JANSEN: Thank you, Mr Chair. Jansen on behalf of Ras, I have a few questions, Chair. I don't know if you wish to take the adjournment at any particular stage.



JOHAN ALBERT HOFFMAN: (sworn states)

CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR JANSEN: Thank you, Chair, just a few questions.

Mr Hoffman, there are just a number of aspects that I need to clarify with you regarding operations in general. Is it correct in this case for example, that all the persons who were involved did not move together in one bundle of persons, there were various groups and you and Mr Ras were in front?

MR HOFFMAN: Yes, it is correct that not all of us moved together but I didn't walk in front with Mr Ras all of the time either.

MR JANSEN: Whatever the case may be, in general when it came to such an infiltration of such a scene, a group would typically have moved in two to three sub-groups, that would be part of the precautionary measures which you would have taken.

MR HOFFMAN: Yes, one could describe it as such.

MR JANSEN: And there would also have been some of your members who remained on the RSA side of the border.

MR HOFFMAN: As far as I can recall, the people who had to pick us up were there. I cannot recall any others, but I do recall that some of them were there.

MR JANSEN: And these formations which were decided upon when it came to a specific operation, it depended upon the decisions made by the person in command, on the basis of the type of contingencies that they wanted to provide for.

MR HOFFMAN: That is correct.

MR JANSEN: And in order to make provision for contingencies such for example the Botswana Army, an ambush at the scene itself, a shooting emanating from the inside of the buildings, all such contingencies, in order to make provision for these things, this was part of the routine.


MR JANSEN: With regard to the language use of plan A and plan B, is it correct that you in the police often used purely idiomatic language? For example, it was actually reference to contingency planning.

MR HOFFMAN: Yes, that is correct.

MR JANSEN: Now the instruction, or let us limit this to Mr Ras, during the instructions beforehand, the so-called briefing, was it mentioned to you that only a bomb had to be planted and then you had to move back because the persons higher up and more specifically the Defence Force, didn't want any fingers to be pointed at the Defence Force, or then at the Security Forces of South Africa?

MR HOFFMAN: Yes, that is correct.

MR JANSEN: Was it ever mentioned that a further reason for the fact that only a bomb was to be planted was the there was concern regarding the security or the lives of the persons in the residential house, structure X? Was that ever given as a reason why only a bomb was going to be planted?

MR HOFFMAN: Not as far as I can recall. The reason why a bomb was going to planted and only a bomb, was because there were some of the Special Forces members in detention in Botswana at that stage and it was not to appear to be an operation by the Defence Force or the police.

MR JANSEN: That was Ras' instruction and his evidence also indicated this, it was never pertinently part of the plan to make provision for certain persons in that premises to be injured.

MR HOFFMAN: Not that I can recall.

MR JANSEN: Thank you, Chair, no further questions.



Mr Hoffman, I just want to find out, while you were at the transit house how far were you from Mr Ras?

MR HOFFMAN: How far was I from what?


MR HOFFMAN: As I have already explained, the first time that I saw him he was fighting at structure Y and I went directly to structure X. If I had to estimate from the time that I commenced movement, it was about 30 to 40 metres. I cannot recall precisely.

MR MARIBANA: What do you mean by saying he was fighting at structure Y?

MR HOFFMAN: Chairperson, I didn't hear the question.

MR MARIBANA: You are saying that the first that you saw Mr Ras was when he was fighting at structure Y. I'm saying, what do you mean by saying he was fighting at structure Y?

MR HOFFMAN: Well it's difficult to describe, he had been blown off his feet by a handgrenade and I approached and saw that he busy at structure Y.

MR MARIBANA: Mr Hoffman, I'm not trying to trick you or otherwise, now you are saying - I just want to find out actually what was he doing specifically when you saw him.

MR HOFFMAN: Well at first he was on his way to the ground after the explosion of the handgrenade and then after that he jumped up and he went into the building of Y and at that stage I couldn't hear the shooting of Mr Ras' gun because it was silenced, but as you ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: Did you see him coming out of building Y?

MR HOFFMAN: Did I seem him going into building Y?

MS PATEL: Yes, going in. That is how it came over the microphone, you said that you saw him entering the building Y.

MR HOFFMAN: Yes, that is correct.

CHAIRPERSON: Did you see him enter completely?

MR HOFFMAN: Well I didn't look that closely, but while I was on my way to X, he penetrated the doorway of Y. CHAIRPERSON: He entered the building?

MR HOFFMAN: That is correct. I don't know at which stage this was, whether or not he had already shot the person, whether he had shot the person from the outside.

CHAIRPERSON: No, that's not my question, I just want to know whether or not you saw him entering the structure.

MR MARIBANA: Thank you, Mr Chair.

Mr Hoffman, if I may just go back a little while, when the explosives were detonated, was Mr Ras inside, or could you see at that stage?

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: Inside Y structure?

MR MARIBANA: No, I'm just saying on site. He could see him at that stage. Let us say immediately after the explosives were detonated.

MR HOFFMAN: No, Chairperson, at that stage as far as I can recall, I did not see him.

MR MARIBANA: You just testified that you went to structure X, if I may just ask what actually made you to go to structure X?

MR HOFFMAN: Chairperson, I went to structure X because we went over into a combat situation at that stage and I was under the impression that structure X still contained danger, not knowing that Martiens Ras had already been there. Because after the explosion he moved along the back of Y in the direction of X, and that is why I didn't see him.

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: Mr Hoffman, it will do you a great deal of good if you don't refer to any of the persons, if you just confine your responses to your participation. I think that will assist you a great deal.

MR HOFFMAN: Thank you, Chairperson, I will do so.

MR MARIBANA: And did you know that members of the family, let us say of that structure, were using more structure X? Were you aware that structure X, I can say maybe has been used by members of the family and not MK people.

MR HOFFMAN: That is correct, I was aware that it was used as a permanent residence.

CHAIRPERSON: The question is aimed to determine why you actually went to structure X while you had conducted three weeks worth of observation there and were fully aware, according to all the evidence we have heard so far, that structure X was the main residence which was used by what you perceived to be the family and these persons that you wanted as MK members stayed in structure Y, and when the attack took place, that was the information at your disposal. With this in mind the question is then, why did you go to structure X and shoot people there, or a person?

MR HOFFMAN: Chairperson, how can I explain. It was a drill, it was part of one's training that if one entered such a combat situation and at that stage according to me, structure X had not been secured, I went there purely with the objective of securing the building seeing as I regarded it as part of the complex and understood the possibility that trained persons with firearms could have been inside the structure. Although it can be generally accepted that it was used as the residence of the owner of that house.

CHAIRPERSON: Very well, then let me ask you this. You went there in order to secure structure X, which would then protect you against possible persons who were in the building, who could have fired at you or thrown handgrenades at you.

MR HOFFMAN: That is correct.

CHAIRPERSON: For no other reason?

MR HOFFMAN: If there was another reason, I cannot think of it right away.

MR MARIBANA: I'm asking you, you are the person who went there.

MR HOFFMAN: Chairperson, I acted there exclusively because the original plan had gone awry and at that stage one would go over into what one had been trained to do, and that would be to secure everything in the vicinity of the target.

CHAIRPERSON: Because you wanted to eliminate the danger of fire being opened against you or grenades being tossed upon you. And when you entered structure X, did you see this person there, the person at whom you shot?

MR HOFFMAN: Yes, that is correct.

CHAIRPERSON: And you have testified, and please correct me if I'm wrong, that you were under the impression that this was the same person who lived there and who took food to the inhabitants of structure Y.

MR HOFFMAN: That is correct.

CHAIRPERSON: So you knew that he wasn't a person who presented an immediate danger to you.

MR HOFFMAN: Chairperson yes, as you have put it it is correct, but given the situation that I was in these things would happen within seconds, it could just as well have been a fully trained person. I wasn't about to enter the building and wait at the threshold for two to three seconds in order to be certain that the person wasn't armed.

In my mind I treated everybody the same, everybody who was involved with that facility and I assumed that if I were to find persons there I would first shoot and then see who or what they were. I went in there with the impression that there were no innocents there, unless it was the woman who prepared the food or the elderly male or the young man who took the food. To me they all one and the same, they were collaborators to trained persons and through that I treated everybody on an equal level.

CHAIRPERSON: That is why I asked you initially why you entered structure X, and your response was, given that the plan had changed and as I understand your evidence, you instinctively wanted to eliminate any kind of danger.

MR HOFFMAN: That is correct.

CHAIRPERSON: Any danger of persons who could shoot you or throw any explosive items in your direction.

MR HOFFMAN: Yes, that is correct.

CHAIRPERSON: And you said yes, that is the reason. That isn't what you have said now.

MR HOFFMAN: Chairperson, it must be easy to accept that it sounds different but it is all part of one action, to go to a building and secure it. There one finds a person not knowing who this person is at the stage of infiltration and one opens fire on this person.

CHAIRPERSON: But you knew who to expect there.

MR HOFFMAN: That is correct, but there was a stage up to the attack on this facility, where anything could have happened because our night vision equipment didn't allow us clear vision at that time. During the day we could see with binoculars, things could have changed after dark up to the point that we had arrived there.

MR MARIBANA: Thank you, Mr Chair.

Mr Hoffman, if you may just refresh my memory. When you entered structure X, in which position did you find that person inside there?

MR HOFFMAN: When I entered the door he was diagonally to my right and situated reasonably low in a crouched position.

MR MARIBANA: Will you say that - was he down on the floor or what - in which position actually was he standing?

MR HOFFMAN: Chairperson, as I've already stated, he was not flat on the ground, he was sitting or kneeling.

MR MARIBANA: So did you - before you could fire any shot, did you observe any injuries or any blood coming from that person?

MR HOFFMAN: Not that I can recall. Chairperson, as I've already stated, at that stage things happened very quickly.

MR MARIBANA: And you are saying you fired how many shots, three?

MR HOFFMAN: Ja, two or three shots.

MR MARIBANA: And at that time when you fired those shots, were there any people, let us say around or next to this structure X, except the security officers?

MR HOFFMAN: Chairperson, had I understood the question correctly in that the question is whether or not there were any other persons in the vicinity of the building?

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: Within structure X.

MR HOFFMAN: Within, inside?


MR HOFFMAN: There were no other persons. After I had fired on this person, I immediately spun around and searched the rest of the building and there were no other persons that I could see at that stage within the building.

MR MARIBANA: Thank you, Chair.

Did you see any persons before you could approach X structure? Did you see any person leaving that structure?

MR HOFFMAN: No, I didn't see anybody coming out of the structure.

MR MARIBANA: And with regard to Y structure - or let me just ask you like this, after going around the X structure, did you go back to the Y structure?

MR HOFFMAN: That is correct, Chairperson, after I was at building X, I returned to building Y.

MR MARIBANA: And what did you do at building Y?

MR HOFFMAN: I didn't do anything there, I observed and saw one man in the first section of the facility, the section that had not been demolished, and then I looked at the next section which - and I saw what appeared to me to be the back of the head of a person, under the rubble.

MR MARIBANA: And at that stage, where was Mr Ras?

MR HOFFMAN: I would be lying if I had to say precisely where he was, but at that stage quite a number of the others joined us, and I recall that photographs were taken but I cannot say exactly who took these photographs today. Things then progressed very speedily and we withdrew.

MR MARIBANA: And in your examination-in-chief you made mention of the fact that you were in the possession of an RPG7, is that so?

MR HOFFMAN: Please repeat your question.

MR MARIBANA: In your examination-in-chief you made mention of the fact that you were in possession of an RPG7.

MR HOFFMAN: That is correct.

MR MARIBANA: And that the said weapon was left at the scene, is that so?

MR HOFFMAN: That is correct.

MR MARIBANA: If one may just ask, Mr Hoffman, what actually made you to leave the said weapon?

MR HOFFMAN: As I've already stated, it was an instruction to take it with and to leave it there, and that is what I did.

MR MARIBANA: Whose instructions were those, Mr Hoffman?

MR HOFFMAN: I've already stated that I thought that it was Mr de Kock who gave me the instruction, but I would not be able to dispute it if he were to deny it today.

MR MARIBANA: And was it explained to you the reason why you should leave it there?

MR HOFFMAN: Yes, as I can recall we had to take it with to leave it there, so that if there were no other weapons to be found there it would look as if this was ANC accommodation.

MR MARIBANA: And Mr Ras, I think there's evidence before this Committee, if I'm wrong, from Mr Ras and Mr de Kock, that according to them this RPG7 there were no specific instructions that it should be left there. What is your comment on that?

MR HOFFMAN: Well I carried the launcher in and I left it there upon the instructions. As I have already stated, I had been a detective previously and I wasn't very happy about doing this, I would never have done so upon my own initiative because by doing this I left my fingerprints on the rocket launcher which I left there, at a scene of a crime.

ADV BOSMAN: Mr Maribana, may I just interpose here.

Mr Hoffman, was this launcher in a working condition, to the extent that if you were to have encountered the Bophuthatswana Army, you would have been able to use it?

MR HOFFMAN: In the way that I carried it, no. I believe that it was in a working condition, but I didn't bring the rockets with myself.

ADV BOSMAN: So according to your recollection it would have no been usable if you had encountered the army?

MR HOFFMAN: That is correct.

ADV BOSMAN: Thank you, Mr Maribana, you may continue.

MR MARIBANA: Thank you, Chair.

Mr Hoffman, there's - or let me just ask you this question, if you were instructed by either Mr de Kock or Mr Ras to leave this RPG7 at the scene, do you think there will be any reason for them maybe to deny that they did instruct you or anyone of you to leave the said weapon?

MR HOFFMAN: No, I do not believe that there would be any reason. The reason that I can foresee is that it happened 12 years ago, that one of us, the three of us either gave instruction or forgot what happened there. I know that I took that pipe in and I left it there on instructions.

MR MARIBANA: Thank you, Mr Chair, I've got no further questions.


CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MS PATEL: Thank you, Honourable Chair.

Mr Hoffman, is it your testimony that in connection with the murder of the 15 year old boy, that it was a combat situation and regardless of who he was or where he came from, you would have killed him anyway because you needed to secure structure X, so it didn't really matter what that person's history was whatsoever?

MR HOFFMAN: Chairperson, it seems a bit harsh if you put it that way, but yes. I would just like to add however that I did the observation myself and that I went in with the idea that there are no innocent people on that premises. At no stage did I see more than one young boy at the scene and the time when I did the observation it was only one and he was in the area. He was approximately 15 or 16 years old and he had the same build as the person who we found that evening there. I went in and did the operation without the idea of saving anybody's life.

MS PATEL: But there's just - there's one really curious aspect about this case that baffles me completely, is that we have a copy of the death certificate of that 15 year old boy who was killed and the cause of death on that death certificate states asphyxiation due to burns. Now according to the testimony that we've had thusfar, that child was shot at least five times, all-in-all according to what we've heard so far.

CHAIRPERSON: He was shot at five times, we don't know how many times he was hit. But for the purposes of your question, he was shot dead, he didn't suffocate.

MS PATEL: Yes, that's correct.

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: And there's no evidence that there was any fire in structure X.

MS PATEL: That is correct.

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: Which really is the problem.

MR VAN DER MERWE: Mr Chairman, may I just come in here? We have a copy of a death certificate, I don't know who the doctor was, whether he was a doctor, I don't know in what way he did his post-mortem, I don't know whether he did it through binoculars or whether he actually looked at the deceased. We don't know. We can't just accept it as truth at this stage.

CHAIRPERSON: Where is ...(indistinct)

MS PATEL: It's in bundle 2, Honourable Chairperson.

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: We don't have that bundle, I think the Chair and myself do not have that bundle, Ms Patel.

Mr Hoffman, have we understood the evidence so far that no fire was caused to occur in structure X, that the only structure that was destroyed by fire was structure Y?

MR HOFFMAN: Not as far as I know, Chairperson.

MR VAN DER MERWE: Excuse me, Madam Chair, as far as I understood the evidence, and I stand to be corrected, was that the rondawel was set alight - or I don't think there's been evidence, but that will come, that the rondawel was set alight, not Y.


MR VAN DER MERWE: Not Y, definitely not Y.

CHAIRPERSON: Ras or de Kock says he doesn't know who set it alight, but when they were going away someone indicated that Y was burning.

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: Yes, Y was - and in fact that's the evidence of Mr de Kock.

CHAIRPERSON: I think it was de Kock - X or Y.

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: That's the pertinent evidence of Mr de Kock about Y. As far as Mr de Kock in any case is concerned, that was the only structure which existed in the premises.

MR VAN DER MERWE: I have it differently, but I will leave it, maybe we can clear it up later.

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: But if I may clear it up with Mr Hoffman.

To your knowledge, did you see any fire in structure Y?

MR HOFFMAN: According to my knowledge - I am now testifying about after we had left the premises, I looked back and I saw that structure X was burning. How it happened, I cannot testify. I cannot testify that structure Y was burning, but as I turned back I saw that X was burning.

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: So to your knowledge, were both structures burning when you looked back as you were departing or was it only structure X?

MR HOFFMAN: As far as I can remember it definitely burnt. I do not know if Y was burning, it could have been possible but I cannot testify that it did because I cannot remember it.

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: But if you were able to note X, why wouldn't you be able to remember if Y wasn't burning?

MR HOFFMAN: X was a larger building, was larger than Y, it had a thatch roof and it was easy, it burnt very easily, and that is why I noticed it.

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: Thank you. Thank you, Ms Patel.

MS PATEL: Thank you. If I may just for the sake of completeness, my recollection in fact regarding the burning is that that evidence came out pursuant to a question by Mr Ras' legal representative, when he in fact raised the question of the death certificate with his client, and his client then said that well the place was burning - structure Y was burning. And that's as far as it was taken. But to my recollection there was no testimony about structure X being alight at any stage during our testimony thusfar.

MR JANSEN: With the greatest of respect, Mr Chairman, my recollection was, at that stage when I asked the questions, those buildings had not yet been identified either as X or Y. Mr Ras was referring to the thatch roof. There was only one thatch roof apart from the rondawel thing, but the thatch roof is what we now know is X.

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: Wasn't the rondawel also a thatched structure?

MR JANSEN: Yes, it also had a thatched structure, but the context of that question with respect, was considering the discrepancy and him having knowledge of the fire. The occupants could only have been in X, it's unlikely that they would have died in asphyxiation in that other structure, so it must have been a reference to what we are now referring to as X.

CHAIRPERSON: Then Mr Jansen, why would I have had the impression that he's referring to Y, irrespective of whether it was marked Y and X at the time?

MR JANSEN: No, with respect, your impression would have been wrong, with respect Mr Chairman, unless you were under the impression that with - what was clear at one stage, Mr Chairman, was that I think even at the end of chief examination, you were under the impression that the child had died in Y, it was only when we produced the sketch plans at the end of chief examination, that you then asked that question whether he was certain that it was in that point, yes.

CHAIRPERSON: Correct, ja. But that doesn't explain the question of which building was burning.

MR JANSEN: What I'm saying is that - I'm just saying that Mr Ras' - it's not correct to say that Mr Ras was referring to what we are now calling Y, I understood his question as being a reference to what we are now ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: I'll tell you why I had that impression. If you listen to the tape recording very carefully, reference was made to the "kant van die gebou, die een kant van die gebou het ingeval en die ander kant het gebrand".

MR JANSEN: That could be so. I don't have a clear recollection of that, but that could be so.

CHAIRPERSON: Then I think that's why I got the impression that is was what we now know as Y.

MR JANSEN: No, I accept that, I'm sure your impression was a bona fide one and ...(intervention)

CHAIRPERSON: No, I'm not suggesting that it could be otherwise, please. The point of the matter is that that is why I always thought up to this stage, that the building that burnt and for which the witness who testified to, was unable to attribute to anybody in particular ...(indistinct) the cause of the burning.


CHAIRPERSON: Was the part that was still standing of a particular building. If we accept that, then there's only one building that was partly destroyed, the rest of which was burning and that is what we know as Y now.

MR JANSEN: Yes, I accept that that caused the confusion, Mr Chairman, the point is just that there are other indications, other parts of the evidence, in hindsight of course, showing that he was probably referring to X. Therefore I think it's wrong to say that he was definitely referring to Y when he was saying that, because I don't think his evidence was so specific that one could say.

CHAIRPERSON: We're stretching it hey, Mr Jansen. Anyway, I'm going to ask the people concerned to give us a record of that part of the evidence.

MS PATEL: Mr Chairman, if I may, I'm the one who raised this question, let me motivate why my impression is clear that it was structure Y that we are referring to. Not only was the question raised of the fact that the wall was down or that part of the structure had fallen down, but then the question was raised as to whether the explosion would have then caused the fire and the response was "no", but they weren't sure how the fire would have been caused. So it was definitely in connection with the structure where the explosion had occurred. And the evidence is clear, it is only structure Y that was in fact subjected to an explosion, and it is on that basis that I put my question. I think we must go back to the record, Honourable Chairperson.

MR VAN DER MERWE: Mr Chairman, may I just interpose here? I think the family would be in a position to tell us which part of this building burnt down.

CHAIRPERSON: We will find that out, Mr van der Merwe, but the point of the matter is that it's also important to know who testified that, if it is not true.

Mr Jansen, you wanted to say something?

MR JANSEN: Yes. Mr Chairman, I just wish to state still that I beg to differ, I think my learned friend is wrong in being so dogmatic about her recollection as being so accurate, my recollection can be wrong, I can accept that completely, I could be wrong in anything, it's just that there is clear other side to the interpretation. It would make no sense - taking Mr Ras' evidence where he draws a picture saying where the child was shot, it makes absolutely no sense for him trying to explain how that person's death certificate may show asphyxiation, in that context, for him to have said it was the building next-door burning. It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever, Mr Chairman. So if my learned friend wants to adopt the attitude that her recollection is definitely accurate and cannot be wrong, then we'll have to go and listen to those tapes, we'll have to go and listen to them now. With respect.

CHAIRPERSON: Well Mr Jansen, I'll decide when we're going to listen to those tapes. Let us carry on and you can leave that question for a while, let's get onto another aspect. We'll listen to those tapes.

MS PATEL: As you please, Honourable Chairperson.

Mr Hoffman, can you tell us, you were the one who went into structure X and went around the whole building to make sure that it was in fact secure, can you tell us whether any weapons were in fact found in that - or whether you noticed any weapons in that part of the structure, in structure X?

MR HOFFMAN: Chairperson, as far as I can remember I saw no weapons in structure X.

MS PATEL: Alright. And then just from what happened at the scene, besides Mr Ras who had fired shots at the deceased, can you recall whether any of the other operatives had in fact done anything to the deceased?

MR HOFFMAN: Chairperson, no, as far as I know nothing. No, I do not know of anybody else who fired shots except myself and Mr Ras.

MS PATEL: Alright. And then just finally, were you present at any stage during the arrest and subsequent interrogation or questioning of Pendukani? Pendukani is the name of the young herd boy.

MR HOFFMAN: I cannot say that the name that you mentioned was the person whom we arrested. I was there one day when the person who is referred to as the herd boy was arrested. Precise details I cannot remember. If I recall correctly we caught him about 50 or 100 metres from the Botswana border on the RSA side that day and if I recall correctly he was questioned and he pointed out his mothers house near Mafikeng to us. I was not present there, that I can remember, but I do recall something like that. And after that he was released again. That is what I can recall of that incident. ...(transcriber's interpretation)

MS PATEL: Can you deliver any comment on Mr Ras' testimony to us as to whether he had in fact agreed to assist you as an informer at the stage when he was released?

MR HOFFMAN: Unfortunately not, Chairperson, I cannot testify about that. I believed that he would have done it because it would have helped us a lot, but I cannot testify about it, if it was true or not.

MS PATEL: Alright, let me ask you differently. If he hadn't agreed to assist you, would you then have released him?

MR HOFFMAN: Chairperson, do I understand the question correctly, that if he did not cooperate we would have released him?

CHAIRPERSON: You would not have released him.

MS PATEL: Would not have.

MR HOFFMAN: We would have - we had to let him go or release him, otherwise we had to detain him or lock him up or hide him or eliminate him, then our operation wouldn't have been a success. We had to release him and he went back to where he came from.

MS PATEL: Alright. And regardless to your response to my first question about whether or not you would have eliminated him, can you just for clarity's sake - you identified him in your mind, as the herd boy at the time that you shot him, or as the person that had been arrested and detained, at the time that you shot him.

MR VAN DER MERWE: Mr Chairman, that question with respect, is not accurate and I wanted to touch on it just now.


MR VAN DER MERWE: The evidence of my client was specifically that he identified this person after he had shot him. And we can go back to the record as far as that is concerned as well. He indicated that at the time that he shot this person in this building, there was no time to identify the person and subsequent to the shooting he saw that it was this boy that he thought was the herd boy that was referred to earlier.

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: Mr van der Merwe, I have been grappling with Mr Hoffman's evidence in that regard because I think he gave two conflicting statements with regard to that fact. I think he initially said he knew this person and he identified him as the same herd boy he had seen in the vicinity and that's why he shot him, then he subsequently gave a different version.

MR VAN DER MERWE: Madam Chair, with all due respect, the impression was created, and at the stage that the evidence was led I realised there was a misunderstanding because after he said he shot him, he said then - the next sentence if we go to the record, he said -

"At that stage I subsequently identified him and I thought it was the same herd boy that we had seen all along."

He never identified him before he shot him, his evidence is clear in that regard. That there were split seconds, he had a fraction of a second to react when he entered this building, he did not have time to identify the person he shot at.

CHAIRPERSON: Mr van der Merwe, then at some time or other you're going to argue in this matter and if you are correct, then you must certainly deal, for my purposes at least, with the issue of your client regarding or having regarded the occupants, the normal occupants of that house as being a threat and needing to be killed. Because if he didn't recognise him, then why did he shoot him? Because if he was classed as a person who assisted ANC soldiers and needed to be eliminated ... Because that's also one of his answers on the same aspect, you must agree on that.

MR VAN DER MERWE: I have a good argument for you, Sir.

CHAIRPERSON: Well I'll be interested in that.

MR VAN DER MERWE: Thank you.

MS PATEL: Well we look forward to your argument, Mr van der Merwe. Thank you, Honourable Chairperson, I then have no further questions for this witness.


CHAIRPERSON: Have you got any re-examination Mr van der Merwe?

MR VAN DER MERWE: No re-examination, thank you Mr Chairman.


CHAIRPERSON: Let's break for lunch. And could I see someone from the interpreters in my rooms please. We'll break for lunch.



JUDGE KHAMPEPE: We adjourned for lunch when Mr Hoffman was still under cross-examination. I think by agreement between the parties, this matter is going to be adjourned until the 2nd of May this year, to enable a victim ...



MS PATEL: It's Mr Bahumi, B-a-h-u-m-i.

JUDGE KHAMPEPE: ... to enable Mr Bahumi, who is not just a victim but a survivor in this incident, to be notified as we are compelled to do so by the Act governing these proceedings, with a view of enabling him to join the proceedings if he so wishes.

Mr Hoffman, you will be reminded that you are still under oath. So we'll adjourn until the 2nd of May. Thank you.